Chapter Two:

Hermione walks timidly behind Professor Flitwick as Draco Malfoy walks along side her, smirking proudly. She hoped that the Professors would discover what a monster he is, but no such luck. They only see the mask he cleverly designed.

She feels his hand descend upon her shoulder, the pale skin clashing with the ebony black robes. Oh how she wants to move remove it, show that she isn't afraid. Unfortunately, that would be lying.

"Don't run away once we reach the common room, I need to speak to you." His voice is but a whisper, but it proves that he won't take no for an answer. Not like she would refuse…

Someone help me, someone see through his mask of innocence… Please.

Her pleas mean nothing. All they do is create useless hope that shall be crushed in the near future.

His hand never leaves the accursed spot on her shoulder. It is a symbol of his control, how he can do whatever he wants, and she will not stop him for fear of herself. Gone is the kind, caring, and intelligent girl, leaving behind a scared young woman who has experienced more horrors than those of full-grown adults.

Hermione wants so desperately to regain the dignity she had the year before, when she was a true Gryffindor. Alas, there is no hope for her.

Silence hangs thick over the heads of the clueless Professor, the triumphant Slytherin, and the nightmare prone Gryffindor.

The small form of Professor Flitwick pauses in front of a portrait. The entrance to the common room most likely. It shows Hogwarts, portrayed in the scenery of rain, thunder, lightning, and the midnight skies. The war. It was like that during the war. Menacing and no longer filled with the comfort of a second home. Tears gleam in her eyes at the memories. Torture, death, and most of all shame. She is ashamed at the fact that she was kept in the hands of a cruel enemy during the climatic point of the summer. During the war, she was imprisoned in a small dungeon, while her friends and loved ones fought. Then there was her the next Dark Lady. She was the leader of Draco, but gave him freedom to do whatever he wanted, gave him what he needed.

Hermione was of no use, helpless.

"This is where I leave you." The squeaky voice of Flitwick is a little duller now, no longer filled with the carefree days from her first year. He carries the appearance of a man much older than himself. So tired and weak.

Hermione smiles weakly while Draco nods.

"The password is of your choosing. Inside there will be a letter explaining your duties more clearly than I myself can. Goodbye." He turns on his small heel and walks away. Draco watches him until he has disappeared around a corner and then turns to Hermione.

"Now, do you have any say in the password?" He is testing her. Trying to uncover how obedient she is.

She shakes her head.

"Speak to me." He growls and she backs away slowly, finding that she is being prevented from going any further by the portrait, he advances.

"Speak. To. Me." He places his arms on either side of her, his silver eyes flash the same way they did over the summer, menacing, dangerous, and ruthless.

"N-no. I don't." She stutters and one lone tear slides down her cheek. Her eyes begin looking downward, but a burning glare causes her actions to cease.

He smirks again and strokes her cheek. "There's a girl." He turns away and towards the portrait. The password is terrible, filled with hatred, and memories. No, it's not prejudice, no it's not a memorial to the war, it's simply this:

"Cassandra."

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In front of the fireplace sits Harry, Ron, and Ginny. Silence is what fills the air between them. They stick out numbly as their dormmates speak with enthusiasm, so clueless over what happened to Hermione. The trio tried so hard to convince everyone of Malfoy's actions, but everyone found it fantastic.

"He switched sides during the war. He wouldn't harm Hermione."

"Draco's already proved himself good. I can't believe that you three of all people would let past grudges carry on."

The same phrases repeated almost word for word by all. Even the Hufflepuffs find him innocent. Fools. He is far from it.

"Do you think she's alright?" Ginny asks quietly. They know nothing of what happened, but for it to scar her so meant something bad.

Harry wants to lie. Say she's safe, that no harm will come to her, but he cannot. "No. She's in danger and we have no ways to get in the common room. We don't even know where it is."

"How can someone be so cruel? I don't know what he did, but he obviously damaged her emotionally and physically. She is such a strong person; I can't believe the he of all people broke her." Tears swell in her eyes at these words. Hermione is Ginny's one close friend. They are so close that they share pain, but only to a certain point. She is oblivious to how much Hermione has experience… They all are.

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Hermione stands awkwardly in the common room. Her eyes flicker from the hallway leading to her room, to the tall young man in front of her. He sees her actions and grasps her wrist tightly. The grip is so strong, that the pain is overwhelming. Her legs begin bending as she screams. Draco's lips form a smirk during her cries and tears. He relishes her pain, it is a treat, and it gives him a sense of power. She falls upon her knees and he releases his grip.

Upon the floor, she nurses her injured wrist, where a bruise begins forming. It hurts still and she looks up and into his eyes. She whimpers and he crouches before her.

"Shh… Don't stain your skin with tears, or a blade. It blemishes your beauty." He wipes a tear away with his thumb and she pulls away. Her confidence is returning. He can't have that.

"No. It gives me comfort, I need to." She whispers more to herself. More in reassurance than anything."

"Don't defy me. I own you Hermione. Cassandra gave me the Eye of the Black Panther for a reason. You have the strength to turn down the Imperius Curse, but this is your one weakness. I tell you to jump, you ask how high. It's that simple." He reaches in his cloak pocket and pulls out a black stone that has been smoothed over by rushing waters after years. It glints in the firelight, mocking her, daring her to say no once more.

A cry escapes her lips and she doubles over.

"Why me?" She asks to no one in particular.

"Because your perfect."

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Author's Note: Unusually short for me, but it is above 1,000 words and is informative if you know where to look. I am mysterious, I am different, but you will never guess my stories. Never assume…

Queen of Serpents,